The canalicular multidrug resistance protein, cMRP/MRP2, a novel conjugate export pump expressed in the apical membrane of hepatocytes

Adv Enzyme Regul. 1997:37:321-33. doi: 10.1016/s0065-2571(96)00013-1.


The conjugate export pump in the hepatocyte canalicular membrane is, together with the ATP-dependent bile salt export pump, one of the two major pumps determining canalicular anion secretion and bile flow. The so-called bile salt-independent bile flow is largely driven by the cmrp/cmoat gene-encoded conjugate export pump, as indicated by the markedly reduced bile flow in the GY/TR- (11, 13-16) and the EHBR mutant rats (18-20). The importance of conjugation with glutathione (52, 53), glucuronate (11, 21), and sulfate (11, 16) for transfer of endogenous and xenobiotic substances from blood into bile has long been known. The molecular identification (7, 26, 54) and cloning (9, 10, 30) of the ATP-dependent export pump for these conjugates in the canalicular membrane was, at least in part, a consequence of the elucidation of the substrate specificity of the multidrug resistance protein (MRP) which is very similar to that of its canalicular isoform (3-6, 49). The broad substrate specificity of the conjugate export pump enables the terminal excretion of a multitude of conjugates and amphiphilic anions which are formed by a large number of relatively specific monooxygenases and transferases in phase I and phase II metabolism of endogenous and xenobiotic substances in the hepatocyte. The predominant expression of the conjugate export pump encoded by the cmrp/cmoat gene in the canalicular membrane does not exclude overexpression of this transporter in other cells and tissues when exposed to drugs and toxins that can be excreted by this pump. The apical conjugate export pump (8-10) may thus confer multidrug resistance to tumor cells in a similar manner as MRP1 (55). The observation that mRNA encoding rat cMrp/cMoat (10, 12) and its rabbit homolog (35) is not only detected in hepatocytes but also in small intestine and the kidneys suggests that the cmrp/cmoat gene-encoded conjugate export pump may function in the apical membrane domain of various epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Anion Transport Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Jaundice, Chronic Idiopathic / genetics
  • Leukotriene C4 / metabolism
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Anion Transport Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Leukotriene C4
  • Adenosine Triphosphate